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Revisiting "The Deer Hunter"

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Mark Suszko
Revisiting "The Deer Hunter"
on Apr 26, 2010 at 6:50:35 pm

I recently screened this for my 17-year-old, I hadn't seen it myself in about 25 years. He couldn't stand the deliberate pacing. I thought that it was slow as well, but reflected the state of the art in edit pacing at the time, and also that Director Cimino was really trying to first embed you in these characters and make you understand who they were and how they fit together, before moving ahead with the Viet Nam story arc and what comes after. Rather Altmanesque.

Yeah, today, you could cut out 50 percent of the pre-war stuff to speed this up, and still tell the story, but you'd be shifting the narrative focus.

Your impressions?


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Scott Roberts
Re: Revisiting "The Deer Hunter"
on Apr 26, 2010 at 7:54:40 pm

Definitely agree, you could cut a nice chunk of the Pre-war/wedding stuff out and I could live without it. I always thought the 2nd half was way stronger than the first half, it's kind of the opposite of Full Metal Jacket in that regard.

But yeah, I do get what he was trying to do with the first act as well, only I feel like he he did his job with connecting us with the characters, and then just went a step too far.

I'm actually a huge fan of that era of film (even though it was before my time), and despite growing up on the faster paced films of the 1990s, I actually really like the slow editing from the 1970s. That being said, when I try and defend 70s slow pacing to some of my friends, who call it boring, I can't help but have The Deer Hunter be the one film that sticks out as really good, but I could never recommend it to anyone because of the first act. I almost just want to show it to my friends who haven't seen it from Vietnam onward, then they might actually like it. I mean there are some scenes that are just incredible in that movie, but I could see people going "ehhhh I gave up on it after 45 minutes, it was sooooooo boring...!"


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Tim Wilson
Re: Revisiting "The Deer Hunter"
on Apr 27, 2010 at 2:14:18 pm

The era didn't have to be slow. Check out the films of Arthur Penn, who set a land speed record with Bonnie and Clyde in 1967.

Although one of my favorite films from the era, Taxi Driver, 1976, is in fact much, much more slowly paced than you might remember....

Also has my all-time favorite director cameo. After the first take, De Niro leaned back and told Marty, "MAKE me stop." Take 2 was the keeper.






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Paulo Jan
Re: Revisiting "The Deer Hunter"
on Apr 29, 2010 at 1:55:54 pm

I've always thought that "The deer hunter" was a perfectly fine 2-hour movie that got bloated into 4 hours due to Cimino's megalomania and his intent to make "the definitive Vietnam movie".

Not to mention some cartoonish plot developments that really felt out of place for me. For example: the escape from the prisoners camp is something I'd have expected from "Rambo", but not a supposedly "serious" movie about Vietnam. Or the whole russian roulette thing.



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Bob Cole
Re: Revisiting "The Deer Hunter"
on May 7, 2010 at 2:18:44 am

[Paulo Jan] "Or the whole russian roulette thing."

That's the only part I remember. I thought it was great. But would I think so today? I don't know - last time I saw it was a long time ago.

This thread brings up a good point: sometimes I remember movies as being way better than they probably "play" today, just because the art form has changed so rapidly.

But I still see something new in "Stagecoach" every time I catch it.

Bob C


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